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Veon's former House employees lose appeals court rulings

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

HARRISBURG — A state appeals court has upheld the criminal convictions of two former House employees who were convicted of public corruption alongside their onetime boss, former Rep. Mike Veon, who's serving time in a state prison.

A three-judge Superior Court panel on Wednesday ruled against Brett Cott and Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, both found guilty of conflict of interest, theft and conspiracy in a lengthy trial in 2010.

Cott had argued that the conflict-of-interest charge was too vague, the theft charge was unsupported by evidence, and the trial judge mishandled the replacement of a juror.

Perretta-Rosepink's appeal argued that she did not have a regular schedule, so the conflict-of-interest charge should not apply, a 48-hour advance notice for getting prosecution evidence had been violated, and the state could not be a theft victim.

Cott and Perretta-Rosepink, who were acquitted of multiple counts at their trial, sought a review related to an impromptu and unauthorized trip by jurors to the state Capitol, a few blocks from the Dauphin County Courthouse.

Superior Court Judge Mary Jane Bowes wrote that Cott had ample reason to think the conflict-of-interest law would apply to him, even though he was a paid legislative staffer and not an elected official.

“The statute in question fails to criminalize amorphous behavior,” Bowes wrote in the opinion. “One can have no doubt that being paid bonuses with taxpayer money for services performed on political campaigns violated its strictures.”

Veon, a former Beaver County state representative who once was the second-ranking leader in the House Democratic caucus, was convicted of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest for illegally diverting state funds.

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